2012/03/11 20:31:39 UTC

Interview: Reboot’s Joe Kawasaki and Sidney Sherman

Reboot is an upcoming film we recently covered in our Indie Spotlight. The film’s creators released an alternate reality game that ties into Reboot‘s story and we were interested in learning more about the project.

Continue reading to hear what writer/director Joe Kawasaki and producer Sidney Sherman and have to say about their upcoming release and the possibility of expanding Reboot into a full feature or TV series:

Reboot Synopsis: “Set within a dystopian world that is a collision between technology and humanity, “Reboot” touches upon many of the current social and political concerns that arise from becoming more and more intertwined with the virtual.

In contemporary Los Angeles, a young female hacker (Stat) awakens from unconsciousness to find an iPhone glued to her hand and a mysterious countdown ticking away on the display. Suffering from head trauma, and with little recollection of who she is or what is happening, Stat races against time to figure out what the code means, and what unknown event the pending zero-hour will bring.”

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Daily Dead. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your film careers?

Joe: I’m a director/editor and shooter, and have been working professionally in the field since I was 18. I’ve directed, shot, and edited mostly commercials and corporate image films both in the US, and abroad in the Middle East, where I had two tenures running and developing new media companies there for over ten years.

Sidney: I am a manager/producer and founded my own company (Rosa Entertainment) where I rep writers and directors for film and television. Previously, I co-produced “Lonely Hearts” starring John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto, and Salma Hayek which was released by Millennium Films and Roadside Attractions. My big break early in my career was working with Academy Award-winning producer Arnold Kopelson as the Director of Development at Kopelson’s production company. During my tenure, I was fortunate to help acquire, develop, package and supervise such projects as “Falling Down,” starring Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall; and “The Fugitive,” starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.

What was the main inspiration behind Reboot? Were there any specific films that inspired the plot/visual style?

Joe: “Reboot” comes from my love of the cyberpunk genre, with such seminal pieces as William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and “Count Zero”, and movies like “Blade Runner”, that were all huge influences for me, especially during film school. My father was a computer programmer and worked for the Space Program, and so I always had some aspect of that going on around me throughout my childhood. The story also sprung from this very powerful paradigm shift that is occurring around us in our lives and in our world as we all become more and more connected, and dependent, on networks and computers.

The film deals with a collision between technology and humanity. In the real world, do you worry about our increasing reliance on technology?

Joe: I’m so past worrying. It’s here, it’s in our lives, it’s what makes our world go ’round. We’ve all succumbed to iTunes and Google. I think it’s important to be aware, but not paranoid. There are so many things that I personally love about technological advances that it would be hard to speak doom about it. I mean, which would you rather have? Instant letters and communications, or to wait a month or half a year to get a note from someone, IF it even gets to you. Media and a world library at your fingertips, or go back to the dewy decimal system? It’s choices and it’s awareness. Anyone can choose the level of technological incursion and involvement in their lives, and all of us should be aware of the privacy issues; as well as the importance for keeping the internet intact with the very civil liberties that we’ve come to expect as “free” people.

How did the project come together? Why did you chose this format over a webseries or feature film?

Joe: In all honesty, the project came around because I came home (from abroad) with a goal to get into narrative work. It began as a calling card for most of us, a sort of spec piece to say, hey, we can tell stories, give us a shot. It got a bit bigger through the Kickstarter process, and through production it grew and mutated into a form that I think goes beyond some of those initial thoughts. The irony of it being a “short film” is that it actually isn’t that short. When I finished the first draft of the script, a good buddy of mine read it and said, “You know Joe… this is one third of a feature film!” But yeah, a feature… or even a serial of any kind would entail a canvas and breadth that i don’t think any of us could afford at this juncture.

You’ve decided to promote Reboot with an ARG  (alternate reality game) viral campaign. Can you tell me more about how this ties to the film? Does it enhance the viewing experience for those that participate?

Joe: We’ve always been staunch believers in the transmedia movement. Engaging with your audience and offering interactive avenues that expand beyond the screen are all very attractive extensions of the filmmaking process that are at once powerful and wonderfully creative. It’s often hit or miss, and I know we’re all trying to figure out things as we go, but ARG’s and guerilla transmedia campaigns are a great way to get people involved with some fun, and it’s exciting stuff… because all of it, this and all the other stuff around us, are all part of those very paradigm shifts that everyone has been talking about, and all of us are seeing today.

Sidney: Joe and I have been talking about ARG for quite some time and have wanted to do a feature film that seamlessly ties in with an ARG campaign. When we started working on “Reboot,” it was clear to us given the subject matter that this was a perfect project for an ARG so we just jumped in.

We feel that players of our ARG who later watch the film, will have a much richer and deeper experience with the film because of all the intimate knowledge they will have of the film, and the players involved. The goal of the ARG is a parallel experience to the film that can stand on its own and be fun, dynamic, and interactive.

How has the feedback to the ARG been so far? What can we expect you to add to the ARG in the future?

Sidney: Great. Using social media (primarily Twitter), we have players all over the world engaged in our ARG on a daily basis and they are an incredibly hard core and passionate group. The future….hmm. We probably don’t want to give away too much, but we are big believers in open source technology and if our ARG can take on a life of its own, we would be more than happy to stand back as proud parents and watch our child fly away.

What are your release plans for the film?

Sidney: We are waiting to hear back from several film festivals in order to determine where and when our film will have its world premiere. After a few key festival screenings, we hope to roll the film out online (via iTunes, etc.). Ultimately, we want as many people to see the film as possible.

If your plans for the film are successful, where would you like to take Reboot in the future? Is this something that you want to do as a web series or feature film?

Joe: We are definitely looking into the possibilities of developing feature content, or serial content from this. There are so many fun and exciting little paths you can take it; and on those larger narrative canvases, the amount of development you can do with all the characters would be fantastic. “Reboot”, the short, is but a fraction of the storyline that is whirling around it and beyond its space.

Sidney: Joe and I have discussed the possibility of turning the short into a full length feature as well as a television series. From a creative standpoint, it is fun to be able to expand on the world Joe created and see how far it can go.

What other projects are you currently working on or plan to take on after Reboot?

Joe: Some very exciting and fun projects are on the table that we’re looking over, and yeah… not much more to say than that at this stage. I think its enough to say that one of them is very “cyberpunk”, I would venture to say even more so than “Reboot”. In the end, we just want to make movies and tell stories that excite us, and would be fun to make.

Sidney: In the early stages, a feature sci-fi cyberpunk love story, “Miriam” (I better let Joe talk about this one…hehe), and something wonderful called “The Examined Life” that has a script and could be the next thing Joe directs. Tonally, it is along the lines of “Good Will Hunting.” Stay tuned.

Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Joe: Thanks for having us. It’s awesome to be here. To the readers, thanks for reading!

Sidney: Yes, thank you Daily Dead for having us. And to your many readers, we appreciate you checking us out. Now go play the ARG and good luck!

If you take part in Reboot‘s alternate reality game, contact them over Twitter/Facebook/Email and let them know what you find. Links and contact information are available at: http://www.rebootfilm.com/  Be sure to mention that you are coming from Daily Dead, because they are have prizes they will be awarding specifically to Daily Dead readers who participate. To search for the first clues, take a closer look at the trailer below:

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